We’re hearing these words a lot lately, too often really. It seems we can go from tragedy to tragedy all too quickly.
Of late we’re also hearing some pushback about that spoken or written phrase. Why? Do people see it as insincere? Or, maybe these words in question seem too glib or perhaps spoken too soon? Maybe they’re associated with the lack of action steps? It would be wrong to judge the heart of the person using that phrase because you or I do not know what’s in their heart.
Would we rather it said, “Our thoughts are not with you and neither are our prayers?” That’s cold and I would think, rarely thought.
So, let’s say people are sincere when they speak these words. They might be far removed from the incident and can have little to no effect upon the event. But in their minds, they can visualize it happening in their home area and they shudder to think of its occurrence. And so, they offer the one thing they can, thoughts and if they are praying persons, prayer. I do know my wife and I pray for the victim’s families and their deep pain. We pray for the first responders and what they have to experience. We pray for our nation.
Is there a time to take action? Yes. Can everyone take action? No. Is everyone called to take the same action? No. Some have to settle for well wishes, concern and hoping for a better outcome in the future.
In my mind, here is the fault in criticizing these words. By pushing back, you belittle the one thing that some people feel is their only choice to offer. You repeat a mockery of those who meaningfully use this phrase. You judge their hearts. You condemn them for what is thought as doing nothing. And, you as well, use phrases similar to these and think nothing of it. But, is it right to jump on a bandwagon of someone else’s critical, sometimes arrogant and thoughtless words which also have very little meaning to them and effect little to no change?
Here is my biggest issue with this subject: Prayer is not inaction! Prayer to our heavenly Father is faith in action on the believer’s part. It is grappling with concern and personalizing it into words of petition directed by the Holy Spirit. Our heavenly Father waits to hear from us and that is called: prayer. How do I know this? Please take a minute to read the scripture verses below.
- I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people. (I Timothy 2:1)
- Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:17)
- During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears. (Hebrews 5:7)
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
- The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
- We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.(Romans 8:26)
- Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. (James 5:13)
- Trust in him at all times, you people: pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalms 62:8)
- Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
- Pray continually. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
Wow–prayer, petitions and thanksgiving are to be made first for all people. Prayer is powerful and effective. Jesus, the Son of God, prayed and He is our example! Prayer is presenting our requests to God, keeping us from anxiety as we know He hears the prayers of the righteous. The Spirit of God helps us to pray accurately.
So, call on Him continually and He will answer you and show you the effective ways you can serve others to bring about change for the glory of God and the good of mankind. At the same time, please know there are very real and authentic persons full of compassion and hearts devoted toward seeing change come to the world we live in.